Group is addressing Saginaw County's gang problem - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Group is addressing Saginaw County's gang problem

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -

(10/02/12) - A local group is preparing to kick off a new month-long campaign combating gangs, violence and drugs.

Throughout October, their goal is to raise awareness about Saginaw's problems, and how the community can fight them.

That summit will take place Saturday at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw.

Organizers are already passing out brochures as a guide to help address gangs, violent crimes and drug problems.

"We have in the city, a growing crime problem, which is fueled by gang activity, but a shrinking police department," said Saginaw County District Court Judge Hon M.T. Thompson.

Thompson, the Police Chiefs Association of Saginaw and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity are joining forces with others in the community. The partnership is launching an anti-violence campaign.

"I think crime related violence is converting our neighborhoods a little more than crime dying grounds and that none of us can afford to stand on the sideline pointing fingers. It's the parents fault, it's the media. It's this, it's that. I think that we all have a role to play. I think the judges have to roll up their sleeves and come out to the community and help," Thompson said.

During a summit Saturday morning, people can ask questions and gain knowledge about the gang activity that is fueling Saginaw's recent spike in crime.

"We're going to talk about the structure of the gangs, or lack of structure. We're going to talk about the retaliation that does exist based on these neighborhoods or groups that are operating in a gang. We call it a gang, but they're more friends in a not so much, in a structured element like they used to be," said Interim Saginaw Police Chief Brian Lipe.

"You'll see them in great detail Saturday, over half the homicides in the city of Saginaw are probably crime slash drug related. So I think it's time for all of us to join forces and attack this problem," Thompson said.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is also playing an important role. Members are delivering anti-gang messages and other materials to students at schools throughout Saginaw County this month.

"The main thing to do is to get them when they're done is just rethink how you go about doing things that you do have choices. A lot of these young men have never seen African American men in any kind of capacity," said Tyrone Harge with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

The anti-gang and drug summit is this Saturday at 10 a.m in the Heritage Theater of the Dow Event Center.

The public is encouraged to attend.

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